Posts Tagged ‘Beirut’
The Lebanese civil war was perhaps inevitable. In the mid 1970s, Lebanon was primed for conflict, just waiting for that final spark. The spark could have been anything, but it turned out to be this bus, which was carrying Palestinian passengers from Tal Zaatar refugee camp to Shatila refugee camp in south Beirut when it was ambushed by Christian gunmen belonging to the Phalange Party. Fifteen years of hell followed.
Today the bus is parked in south Beirut and looked after by a very interesting historian/activist/curator named Lokman Slim. For this month’s issue of Esquire Middle East, I took a look at the history of the bus and talked with Lokman about its significance and the country today.
These days, tensions continue to rise in Lebanon over the war in neighboring Syria. Some groups are arming up, others are looking for an escape. During the “incidents” as they are called here (such as after last month’s assassination of Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan) the guns come out, the balaclavas go on and the country braces. Lokman said it best:
“We are living in a kind of country which is filled with civil war triggers, where everything – every object, every word – could become a bus.”